Every one of us, one man or another, has a father and has a mother. And what God says, if you appreciate my holiness, you should understand that flowing from my holiness is an obligation on you that you would honor your father and your mother. Watch an old TV program about families and notice a difference between that and modern programs.
The Father Knows Best era morphed into Married with Children, and the result has been anything but beneficial to our society. Hello, this is the Truth Pulpit with Don Greene, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm Bill Wright. As Don Greene continues to teach God's people God's Word, we're continuing a series titled A Refresher on the Family. Today Don reminds us of the Fifth Commandment as it begins a message titled accordingly, Honor Your Father and Mother. And Don, we're not to take that commandment lightly, are we?
Well, I think that's right, Bill. It's a cornerstone, really, to the whole way that God has designed us to function in the world. Authority is woven into the family relationships with parents and children. It's woven into the workplace.
It's woven into society. And so to get the principle of authority right from the beginning in a young heart is to establish somebody on a trajectory that will do them well in the rest of their lives. And God intends that too, our blessing, that your days might be prolonged. God is a faithful, loyal God, and we're going to see that as we study today on the Truth Pulpit. Thanks, Don, and friend, let's join our teacher right now as he continues to teach God's people God's Word in the Truth Pulpit. We come to the concept of honoring your father and mother, and what I want to do in our time together today, we're going to take a biblical sweep of it. We're going to look at several texts that I have chosen to kind of emphasize what needs to be said, and we're going to look at things from three different perspectives. We're going to look at it first from the order of God, and then secondly, the disorder of man, and then thirdly, in leading us into communion, we'll look at this idea from the perfection of Christ. The order of God, the disorder of man, and the perfection of Christ, all giving us a biblical overview, a biblically informed way of thinking about this most fundamental of human relationships, and that's what we're going to do. Let's consider, first of all, the order of God, the order of God, central, foundational, a cornerstone of God's moral order for men in their human relationships, and even, not to say too much, even for their vertical response to God, central to all of that is the concept that children should honor and obey their parents. This is fundamental to life, and if you look at the book of Exodus, chapter 20 will start right there in the Ten Commandments. Exodus chapter 20, I encourage you to turn there with me.
I think you'll be a little bit surprised about where all of this goes by the time we're finished today. But Exodus chapter 20 is the chapter where we first find the Ten Commandments delineated for us as God gave them to Moses, and in the fifth commandment, we find this statement in Exodus chapter 20, verse 12, remembering that this is God's moral law applicable to all times and all places and all people, Exodus chapter 20, verse 12, God says, honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. As God is establishing his moral order, he's established in the first four commandments a vertical response in giving glory to God and honoring his name and so forth, and as kind of a transitional commandment, you find him stating that you are to honor your father and your mother. Now God reiterated this principle multiple times in the law of Moses. It might surprise you to hear that because some of these texts aren't necessarily quite as well known, but if you look over at the book of Leviticus, for example, Leviticus 19, just the next book over from Exodus, Leviticus 19, Leviticus 19, verses 1 through 3, the Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy.
Now that's a pretty profound statement. God declares his own nature to be one of holiness, one that is set apart, one that is constituted by absolute perfect moral purity, and then he speaks to his people and he says, you are to be like I am. You are to be holy, you are to be set apart. There is to be a moral purity in your life that patterns after my own. You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy. Notice where, notice where he immediately goes after making that foundational statement.
You would never guess this. You would think that it would follow that therefore you should pray or therefore offer sacrifices in the Old Testament context, that's not where God goes. God gives us a sense of the priority that he attaches to his name.
What flows from his name, what flows from his character. Verse 3 is this, every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father and you shall keep my Sabbaths I am the Lord your God. He says you be holy as I am holy and then where he goes from there is you honor your father and your mother. Young people, adults with living parents, those of you who your parents are gone as we reflect back on our lives, every one of us to one man or another has a father and has a mother and what God says if you appreciate my holiness you should understand that flowing from my holiness is an obligation on you that you would honor your father and your mother in your life and so honoring your parents flows from the holiness of God. You young people, especially you young people that are in your teens and early years I realize both from having been a kid and having raised kids now, you realize that there is a time from birth until 10, 11, 12, 13 years old maybe where parents in pretty much, not to say too much, but can pretty much enforce their will upon you. There's superior physical strength, there's superior intellectual ability at least for some parents, but you know parents have the capacity as an adult to control the situation through their superior physical and mental abilities when a child is young, but as you start to grow older and you start to enter into your teenage years and your own mind starts to develop and your body starts to develop and some of you get stronger than your parents ever dreamt of being, then the stage is there for you to think differently about it. Well, here's what I want you to see and knowing the nature of the heart of men and the heart of children is this, is that it is easy for you especially in that time to start to think lightly of your parents, to start to despise them, to start to think that you know more than they know and to disrespect them and to be ashamed to be seen with them and on it goes. Well, here's what I want you to see.
All of that was simply to set up this one simple point. What you need to understand is that your attitude toward your parents reflects indelibly, reflects like a mirror what your attitude toward God is. Those of you that are hostile to your parents, those of you that talk sass to your parents, those that speak badly of your parents, that disobey them, that bite back, that live in sullen resentment of your parents even if you don't voice it, what you need to understand is that's a direct violation of the character of God for you to be that way.
And I'm speaking to you softly, gently, knowing what I was like as a young teenager in my own home. I'm ashamed of what I was like and the way that I responded to my parents, but what you and I need to understand is that God says you honor your parents because I am holy and you are to be holy like I am. You cannot separate the two. God will have none of the idea that a young person would say, oh, I love God and worship God and oh, by the way, you know, I practically hate my parents. Those two things don't go together.
They are mutually exclusive. So as you're sitting here contemplating your relationship with your parents, have a sense of the supreme importance that God attaches to it and understand that you can't separate the two. The holiness of God yields over into reverence and honoring for your parents.
The two go together. Look over at Deuteronomy chapter 5. Deuteronomy chapter 5. And what I'm saying here, as I say these things to you young people, it's not to, right now anyway, it's not to rebuke you or anything like that, but just to help you understand and see the issue. Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse 16, as Moses reiterates the law of God for a second time, Deuteronomy second law, he's restating the law again before the children of Israel enter into the Promised Land and Moses himself moves on to his eternal reward.
Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse 16 says, honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you. Do you see it young people? Do you see it adults? Because this, we're not, the fact that we move out from under our parents' roofs does not sever and finalize and excuse us from this command going forward. We'll see that later on in the life of our Lord Jesus.
But do you see it? Honor your father and your mother, why? Because it's what the Lord your God has commanded you. The Lord your God commands you to respond to your parents this way. And so you must see, you must understand that you start your thinking with the Bible, you start your thinking with God, you start your thinking with His holiness, you continue your thinking with what He has commanded and you say, what has He commanded to me as a child to my parents? He says you honor them, you reference them.
You give them respect. And so you realize that all of a sudden this is God looking down, this is God declaring His will, this is God saying the way that He wants it to be. And so what that means is honoring your parents is not optional. Boy or girl, Christian or non-Christian, this is God's law. And we're all accountable to His law in that way. And what you see in this, what you see in verse 16, look at Deuteronomy 5.16 with me again, is that in the gracious nature of God, He attaches a promise to this command.
Not a threat, a promise. He says you honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you so that your days would be prolonged and that it would go well with you. Paul repeats that aspect of this command in the text that we read in Ephesians 6 earlier. And so this blessing, this general blessing of God that is attached to honoring your parents isn't just for Old Testament Israel, it's repeated in the New Testament. This is the way that God has ordained things. And that just gives you a sense of how interwoven it is to His enduring moral law. He ties it to His character. He says it multiple times in the Old Testament. He repeats it in the New Testament. He promises blessing for it. You cannot think about your parents apart from the reality of the living God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
Wow. Don't think about it that way often, do you? And what does it mean then to honor your parents?
What does it mean to respond to this command? For now, I just want to quote a highly respected Old Testament scholar, Walter Kaiser, who says it this way better than I ever could and more succinctly than I ever would. Walter Kaiser says, based on Old Testament usage, we may say it involves, I'm quoting him here, we may say it involves, number one, pricing them highly, pricing them highly. Number two, caring and showing affection to them. And number three, showing them respect, reverence, and deference. You prize them highly. You value them as the fact that these are the parents. This is the man and the woman that God chose to give life to you.
You honor your parents in recognizing that whatever their faults may be, and their faults may be many. They may not even know the Lord. Yet still, God has appointed them. God chose them.
God used them. God providentially orchestrated your life so that you would be under those parents. And knowing all of that in advance, He said beforehand, He said, you honor your father and your mother. You prize them. You respect them. You obey them.
You show affection to them. That's what it means to honor your parents. Now, young people, is that the way that you deal with your parents?
Those of you that are seven or eight, you're old enough to interact with this question and to reflect on your life from a moral perspective. Do you realize, young people, that when you speak back and sass back to your parents, when you say no, do you realize, do you realize that there's a real sense in which you are looking Christ in the face and saying that? That Christ commands you not to be that way, to instead reverence them, and to say no in a defiant way to your parents is to defy God Himself. Not because your parents are God, but because your parents are the appointed representatives of God, and this is the order that He has ordained. And so we realize that there is a seriousness, there is a sobriety about this, parents. Our time will come in a couple of weeks when we look at Ephesians 6.4 about how God has spoken to us on how to handle our roles. So we have to do these things in order and kind of take the long picture of it here. For those of us that have parents living, we need to respect and honor God, first of all, respect and honor His word, and to realize that flowing from that is an honor that flows to your parents.
Really God's word couldn't be any clearer about it, could it? And so let's sum this up, the order of God, first part of this, let's just say it simply, and also recognizing, also recognizing again as we're going to see from the life of Christ soon enough, that this principle of honoring your parents, it flows through into your adult life as well. If you have adult living parents, you should be honoring them. Some of you are honoring them by providing care for them in difficult circumstances, and that's exactly what you should be doing.
God bless you as you deal with the difficulties of that. But what we all need to see as we all come under the authority of God's word here is to understand this, your attitude and behavior toward your parents tells you what your response toward God really is. Those who honor their parents are honoring God. Those who disrespect them and disobey them are sinning against God, no exceptions, no questions asked.
This isn't difficult. God has made His will known. The only question is how we respond to it at that point. And you say, well, you know, I can remember some of, you know, for some of you young people, you're saying, oh, I'm, I'm, I'm, this is how I live.
Okay. Well, let the Spirit of God convict you and you humble yourself and repent of that. Those of us who look back on our childhood and see that, oh, we failed so many ways and all of that, well, remember that this is why Christ came. Christ came in part, part of the, the, the multitude of sins and the, the, the, the multi-colored nature of your sinfulness that Christ died to redeem you from and to cleanse you from included the rotten way that you responded to your parents in times gone by.
His blood was shed even for that. And so as we're convicted by this, and as we feel the weight of God's word on this, it should drive us to repentance, yes, but not to an utter despair, there could never be despair for the Christian when the Lord Jesus Christ has died to ransom us. And so at the same time, we let God's word have its sanctifying effect upon us. Now, so your attitude and your behavior toward your parents is telling you what your response to God is.
Don't try to talk yourself around it or, or to excuse it or anything like that. When you're cold and resistant to your parents and you shrivel up when they want to show you affection and you push them away, that's, you might as well just say, I'm just going to push God away and be defiant that way to recognize what the spiritual reality of it is because this is the order of God. Well, what can we see as we go more deeply into scripture on this? Well, number two, let's look at the disorder of man, the disorder of man. For the sake of time, we can only lightly touch on this key theme and what we've done, what we've done in this first part, describing the order of God is, is we've set forth a, a didactic, a clear, a, a positive nature of how God sees the relationship between children and their parents based on the, the, the clear statements of scripture and the commands of what God wants it to be. Now your father and mother, he roots it in a vertical reality about his own character.
Okay? Now we can approach it from another perspective to see what God says about children and their relationship to their parents in, in this way, in a way that, that might be just a little bit counterintuitive, but you can see the importance that God attaches to it by the, by the way that he treats disobedience to this command. And for the sake of time, we can only lightly touch on it, but go back to the book of Exodus, this time to Exodus chapter 21, Exodus chapter 21, Exodus chapter 21 verses 15 and 17, remembering that God here is laying out his law for a theocratic people, a people that were living under his direct rule. This is not directly one for one corresponding to the way that we should do things in a society that is not theocratic, yet at the same time you can see how seriously God views honoring your parents from the negative side of what happens when there is disobedience and dishonoring at stake. Exodus chapter 21 verse 15, he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Verse 17, he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Pretty severe. This is foreign to anything that we've ever been conditioned to think about, parents and children and their relationships to one another. You young people, you act up in the home and it seems like no big deal. We've all seen people in the stores and they're dragging their screaming kid along, not recognizing that we're seeing a manifestation of a spirit that God says is worthy of death.
Physical or verbal assault against one's parents in the nation of Israel was grounds for the death penalty. That's how seriously God views it. It's no laughing matter. And look, I get, you know, I get the fact that we're conditioned with modern media and what Hollywood spews out that parents are often portrayed, especially fathers, as stupid, barely sentinate beings who are routinely mocked by really intelligent children. Do you understand what a reversal that is of the order of God? Do you realize that in the name of entertainment we're asking people, not we, they, are, can we, conditioning people and asking people and inviting people to laugh and mock at a relationship that God says is premised on his own holiness? There should be a vast repentance of everyone in the entertainment industry that has ever produced bile like that, sewage like that, that conditions people to laugh at that which God says is so sacred and revered that it should be viewed as a life and death matter.
But let's not just leave it with those people out there, young people. Understand that what God is saying here is a reflection of what he calls you to and the seriousness with which he views your sin. It is no laughing matter.
It is no joking matter. Beloved, I'm going to control myself here. I don't often do that in the pulpit and I'm going to control myself here and just simply state to you that you cannot shrug this off as if it's a matter of indifference, as if it's not important, as if oh well whatever, no, no, no, no, no. We don't deal with God that way.
We don't look at God's word and say oh well, we have a Bible and oh well, you know, whatever. You don't do God that way. You don't respond to a holy God with a matter of indifference that says I'll still do whatever I want. God says that attitude calls forth death. In Israel, a human death penalty.
For us today, we think about it in terms of an eternal death penalty, the consequences of sin being that which leads a soul to hell. That's how serious this is. So we'll have to pause there for today, but Pastor Don Greene will have the second part of his message, Honor Your Father and Mother, next time on the Truth Pulpit. Don will look at the perfection of Christ to give us the proper perspective on how children should treat their parents.
But don't despair. When God reveals our own sins and inadequacies, the Gospel is reinforced as it should be. It now dons back here in studio and he has a special invitation. Well, friend, if you are anywhere near the Cincinnati area and you don't have a good church home, I invite you to visit us at Truth Community Church. I'm in the pulpit almost every Sunday and we have a loving congregation that would simply be thrilled to meet you and welcome you to our body.
We are striving to manifest the principles that you heard taught today. Why not come and see us? Also we'll help you find us on our website. Just visit thetruthpulpit.com for directions and service times. There you'll also find a link to Don's Facebook page. Once more, that's thetruthpulpit.com. And thanks for your support of this ministry. Thanks for listening. I'm Bill Wright and we'll see you next time as Don Greene continues teaching God's people God's Word here in the Truth Pulpit.
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